Sunday, March 11, 2007

So It's Winthrop

Regardless of whether or not ND got slighted as a 6 seed against a well-respected Winthrop team, we now know the schedule for next weekend.

In the "Midwest" regional, Notre Dame will play its first two possible games in Spokane, Washington. First round against Big South Champs Winthrop, second round opponent would either be Pac-10 Champion Oregon or MAC Champ Miami (OH).

Let's take a look at our first round opponent. The Winthrop Eagles are smokin' hot going into the NCAAs, having won 18 in a row (17-0 against conference opponents). Ranked 70th in the RPI, Winthrop gets a lot of credit from analysts for winning against inferior opponents and playing tough to better teams. Against top 50 teams, the Eagles are 2-4. Winning against Missouri St. and Old Dominion. Losing to UNC, Maryland, Wisconsin, and Texas A&M.

The Wisconsin game went to overtime, but Texas A&M rolled over its Big South opponent. What can we learn from those two games? A&M shot well from outside, sinking 10-20 3 point attempts. Overall, the Aggies made 53% of all field goal attempts. Wisconsin, however, made only 6 of 25 shots from outside, 46% total. In neither game did Winthrop rebound well (indeed, Wisconsin outboarded the Eagles by 18).

The key to the game will be controlling the glass. Winthrop's leading rebounder gets just 6.3 a game (remember, many of those came against teams ranked in the 200s and 300s). If Kurz and Harangody can extablish a presence down low, the Irish will be able to contol the game and Carter and Kurz will have more open opportunities. All in all, a very good chance to advance to the 2nd round.

I like how the players reacted to the announcment on CBS. No emotion, just cold professionalism. Let's take care of business on Friday.


Raristotle said...

I don't believe it was cold professionalism. I believe the team was P-Oed. The redeeming quality of this reaction is that it'll make the Irish dig down deeper for a victory.

By the way, it appears that the entire Big East got screwed by the selection committee, at the expense of (surprise, surprise) the ACC and SEC. Here's my brief analysis

BlackandGreen said...

Very nice analysis. Indeed, hopefully this will make the team dig deeper.